Truck Company Liability and Insurance Coverage
Commercial truck accidents are unique in that they often involve the liability of the trucking company and not just the individual truck driver. Don’t file your claim against a major trucking company alone. Understanding how to navigate a trucking accident insurance claim in Arizona can take several conversations with experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyers. The attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. can help you with insurance settlement negotiations and arbitrations with truck companies. Let us protect your rights after a serious truck accident.
When Is a Trucking Company Liable for a Truck Accident?
The trucking company can be legally responsible for crashes involving its trucks and drivers in many case scenarios. A company is vicariously liable for the actions and behaviors of its truck drivers under the stipulations of respondeat superior, a legal doctrine that means “let the superior make answer.” Under this doctrine, employers are generally liable for the negligence or wrongdoings of employees if the accident occurred within the scope of employment.
In most cases, independent contractors do not fall under the rules of respondeat superior since they are technically their own employers. An exception exists, however, with trucking companies. Despite the fact that most truck drivers are technically independent contractors, federal law will hold trucking company employers vicariously liable for drivers’ actions. This prevents companies from escaping liability for work-related accidents. The only time a trucking company might not be liable for a driver is if he/she was not on the job at the time of the accident.
A trucking company might also face liability if it contributed to the crash through negligence, recklessness, or wrongful acts. It is every truck company’s legal responsibility to reasonably prevent accidents through proper driver hiring, driver training, and truck maintenance. Failure to fulfill this duty is negligence. For example, if a trucking company skipped a vehicle inspection in order to deliver goods by a certain deadline, it might be liable for a crash that stems from poor truck maintenance or part failures.
What Are the Requirements for Insurance Coverage?
Insurance claims after commercial trucking accidents are often rather complex. Instead of simply filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, as you would in a passenger vehicle crash, victims will have to seek retribution through the trucking company’s insurer if the company is liable. If the company is somehow not liable (e.g. the driver wasn’t an employee at the time of the accident, etc.), victims will seek recovery through the individual driver’s private insurance company.
Under federal law, motor carriers must maintain certain minimums of financial responsibility through insurance plans or financial securities. These amounts will cover victims’ damages in the event of trucking company liability. In addition, Arizona law makes it mandatory for all drivers (commercial truckers included) to maintain at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage at all times. The driver’s individual insurance plan might kick in if he/she is individually liable for the collision.
Who Should I Contact in a Truck Accident Claim in Arizona?
The more you learn about commercial trucking accidents, the more you’ll realize just how intricate and complex these personal injury claims can be. Dealing with federal motor carrier laws isn’t easy; neither is navigating the web of rules around insurance requirements. Help from a team of personal injury attorneys who specialize in Phoenix trucking accidents can lift the burden of litigation from your shoulders after an Arizona truck crash.
The only way to level the playing field in a commercial truck accident claim as a crash victim is with legal representation. An experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney from Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. will be happy to represent you during truck accident insurance negotiations, as well as take your claim to trial if it comes to that. Call (602) 254-6071 or contact us online to find out how our negotiators can help you.